Xiahe is a tiny but bustling town reposed in a valley in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in southwest Gansu province. At three thousand meters above sea level and surrounded by hilly mountains, this rural area hugs its neighboring Tibet. The town centers around the Labrang Monastery, and near the gorgeous Sangke Prairie.
People, having followed the encircling Prayer Wheels around the monastery, having rode Tibetan style in the Sangke Grasslands, having hiked into the surrounding mountains for vistas of the mottled Tibetan section of town or having eaten their fill of yak yoghurt and Tibetan Tsampa, will have the opportunity to appreciate the peculiar scene and culture of this area. You can get there either from Lanzhou by going southward or from north Sichuan province northward.
It is not just the amazing sights that will enamor you with Xiahe, but also the vibrant and exotic minority atmosphere. The locals and nomads that you will see in the village live a laid-back lifestyle that will appeal to those who have been traveling for almost any length of time. The population here is made up of 45% Tibetan, 45% Han and 10% Hui, making this a good place to behold monks in bright purple, yellow and red, nomads clad in sheepskins, and the Hui Muslims with skull caps and wispy beards. The town is also on a thoroughfare for incoming pilgrims from the obvious Qinghai and Tibet, to the many backpacking Westerners.